Bellator 45, which aired live from the L'Auberge du Lac Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana last night (May 21, 2011), is officially in the books. The fourth season closed with a bang as a new light heavyweight champion was crowned in highlight-reel fashion.
The headlining bout of the evening was the Bellator season four light heavyweight tournament finals. Since this was the first ever Bellator light heavyweight tournament, the winner of the fight would be crowned the promotion's inaugural champion. Richard Hale and Christian M'Pumbu had survived the first two rounds of the tournament to match up against each other in the finals.
M'Pumbu got off to a great start in the first round, rocking Hale with a sweet short inside hook along the fence. When Hale dropped to the canvas, "Ton Ton" inexplicably went for submissions instead of trying to finish the fight by pounding the former bodybuilder out and he gave Hale a chance to recover.
And recover he would. The unbelievable inverted triangle user took command of the cage in the second round and forced M'Pumbu to play defense to tie things up. Hale would use the same strategy in round three but M'Pumbu, tired of riding his bicycle, took control of the center and forced the action in the latter half of the third and, with Hale reeling backwards, threw an incredible right haymaker that clipped the former Rage in the Cage champion and dropped him again. This time, M'Pumbu took advantage and threw vicious ground and pound until the referee stopped the fight.
Despite giving up at least 25 pounds in the cage to all three opponents he faced in the Bellator tournament, Christian M'Pumbu used superior technique and speed to knock out all three men and win the inaugural Bellator light heavyweight title.
More on this exciting season finale after the jump.
In Bellator featherweight tournament action, Patricio Freire fulfilled his destiny by coming back and earning a rematch with Joe Warren for the title be defeating Cincinnati-based fighter, Daniel Straus and ending his 12 fight winning streak.
"Pitbull" controlled much of the bout from start to finish, showcasing his vast improvement in both defensive and offensive wrestling to stifle Straus' takedown attempts and forcing the Team Vision fighter to be on his heels for much of the fight.
Freire didn't take too many risks in the featherweight finals, but he did enough to win each and every round, and surprisingly, Straus never had a sense of urgency, even in the final minute of the fight when Freire, knowing he was about to win a decision, began showboating and taunting him.
When "Pitbull" was announced the winner via unanimous decision, he squared off with current Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren in the cage and both men played mock tug-of-war with the featherweight championship belt. The first time Warren fought Pitbull, it was an absolute war and one can expect nothing less in the upcoming rematch.
In middleweight action, Sam Alvey survived a first round massacre against Karl Amoussou to come back and earn a birth in the Bellator season five middleweight tournament. Amoussou mounted Alvey in the first round and dropped some horrific elbows, opening up a horrible cut in what was deemed one of the bloodiest rounds in Bellator history. Alvey reversed Amoussou late in the round to avoid a 10-8, but he was in major trouble.
In the second and third, Alvey surprisingly fueled by the blood dripping down his face, pressed the action. Whenever the Judo black belt, Amoussou, would attempt a trip takedown from the clinch, Alvey would sweep him and take top position. With 10 seconds left in the fight, Alvey left it all on the line, throwing ground and pound from top position with authority and he was awarded a razer-thin split decision victory.
For complete Bellator 45 results and detailed round-by-round commentary of all the televised fights click here.